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Parrots given a hotel treat

PUBLISHED: 12:09 06 December 2008 | UPDATED: 12:29 03 July 2010

PRIZE PARROT: Hotel owner Karen Coleman with Chico, winner of the Mercury's village of the year competition

PRIZE PARROT: Hotel owner Karen Coleman with Chico, winner of the Mercury's village of the year competition

Miles Jermy

WITH spacious, comfortable accommodation, wholesome meals and tip top service the Pretty Polly Hotel is a popular place to

stay.

However, the guests that keep returning to their perch at the hotel in Potter Heigham are not people, but parrots.

WITH spacious, comfortable accommodation, wholesome meals and tip top service the Pretty Polly Hotel is a popular place to

stay.

However, the guests that keep returning to their perch at the hotel in Potter Heigham are not people, but parrots.

While their owners are away on holiday, the parrots have a chance to enjoy a change of scene at the hotel owned by Karen Coleman.

Karen has been running the business for three years, which is used by parrot owners from as far afield as Essex and Yorkshire.

“I don't know of anyone else running a parrot hotel, and lots of customers come back year after year,” she said

“Parrots get stressed out if they are left alone for too long and need a lot of attention. You cannot rely on someone just coming round to feed them.

“They settle in quite quickly and if the parrots know each other and get on well they can share a cage.

“Having the radio or TV on from time to time keeps them stimulated, which is important as parrots are very intelligent birds.”

Former hairstylist Karen had the idea of setting up the hotel after not being able to find anyone to care for her pet parrots when she went on holiday.

Husband Mike and son Damien both help out to make the guests feel at home throughout their stay.

The family's pet parrots, blue and gold macaw Chico and Pretty, a yellow crowned Amazon, also get to make some new feathered friends.

Colourful Chico was recently crowned the winner of the Mercury's first-ever village pet of the year competition.

“We go on a caravan holiday and take our birds with us, but not everybody is prepared to do that just because they own a parrot. Instead they can leave their parrot here and know they are being looked after,” said Karen.

“I feed them on a parrot mixture, but add a variety of nuts, dried fruit and vitamins to make it even more nutritious.

“Cages need to be cleaned every day and parrots should be sprayed about three times a week to keep their feathers in good condition.

“I was not sure if the business was going to work as I didn't know anyone who owned parrots. I found customers by advertising through veterinary surgeries.”

Chico has been enjoying plenty of attention since being voted Pet of the Year competition winner by Mercury readers.

The family have owned Chico since she was 12 weeks old, but only discovered

she was female after carrying out a DNA test on her feathers.

Karen said: “I thought Chico might win her category, but not the overall competition. There were loads of votes for her, so I was really chuffed. I will give Chico a present,

but she is already spoiled rotten.”

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